The Predators would like to make things a bit easier on themselves in order to beat the Hurricanes for a fifth consecutive meeting Saturday night.
Nashville (11-8-5) has reached the shootout a league-high six times this season, winning four. All of those contests have come within the last month, during a 6-3-2 stretch that followed a season-high five-game losing streak.
"I personally like the shootouts," said goaltender Pekka Rinne, who has won 15 of 23 career games that went to the tiebreaker. "We prepare for the shootouts pretty well and we practice them. It's a big part of the game. One point one way or the other, anytime you go into the shootout you want to get that extra point."
Rinne has stopped 17 of 21 shootout attempts in 2010-11, and has been in net for all six tiebreakers. He turned away all three attempts he faced in Wednesday's 4-3 victory at Columbus, while Steve Sullivan netted the deciding goal for Nashville.
Rinne, who will likely make his 12th consecutive start, has compiled a 1.45 goals-against average while winning both of his career meetings against the Hurricanes (11-11-3). The most recent was a 2-1 shootout win Nov. 20, when Rinne made 21 saves through overtime before stopping two attempts in the tiebreaker.
The Predators have outscored the Hurricanes 12-5 while winning four consecutive games in this series, including two at home.
While Nashville is finding success in the shootout, Carolina is on a 2-2-3 stretch that includes three shootout losses. Only one of its eight attempts was successful in the three shootouts.
The Hurricanes, who are opening a five-game road trip, avoided another shootout Friday, as Brandon Sutter scored 1:16 into overtime to clinch a 2-1 win over Colorado.
Cam Ward, who made 34 saves against the Avalanche, is likely to make a fifth straight start Saturday. He's 3-1-2 with a 1.46 GAA in his last five games, including a 26-save performance through overtime against Nashville before getting beat on two of three shootout attempts.
Ward is 0-3-1 with a 2.72 GAA in four meetings with the Predators, losing both his visits to Nashville in regulation.
Jeff Skinner's transition to the NHL continues to go smoothly. The right wing, selected seventh overall in June's NHL Entry Draft, is second on the Hurricanes with eight goals and 20 points after finding the net in the third period Friday.
Skinner has scored half of his goals and seven of his 12 assists in the final period.
"He seems to play his best hockey in the third period, especially in tight games, and he stays consistent," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "That tells us he's not dragging, he's not fatiguing."
Skinner had an assist and converted his shootout attempt in the last meeting with Nashville.
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